The Oregon Department of Education has filed a waiver to drop standardized tests for the rest of the school year, amid extended school closures due to the coronavirus.
U.S. President Donald Trump made the announcement Friday that federal testing in schools throughout the nation would be waived, which would likely include the Smarter Balanced tests for Oregon students.
The U.S. Department of Education said later that day, it would grant waivers to any state “upon proper request.”
“Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment.
“Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions. I’ve spoken with many local education leaders in the past days, and I’m inspired by their efforts to help their students continue to learn and grow. We’re going to continue to provide every flexibility possible to help make that as simple as possible.”
Oregon’s Department of Education submitted the application Friday and is taking public comments on the proposal until Monday.
Gov. Kate Brown shuttered the doors on Oregon school until April 28, although she can extend or terminate that closure at any time. During her announcement on the closure, Brown made it clear the closure wasn’t to curb the spread of COVID-19, but rather to address operational issues caused by the pandemic.
Any identifications made regarding a school’s status for the 2019-2020 school year would carry over to the 2020-2021 school year, according to a letter signed by Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill.